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Reviews Written by
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Hail, Caesar! [DVD]
Hail, Caesar! [DVD]
Dvd ~ Josh Brolin
Price: £10.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, 21 July 2016
This review is from: Hail, Caesar! [DVD] (DVD)
An exposure of the nonsense and workings of 1950s Hollywood. I watched this feeling like everyone was in on an "in joke" except me. Everyone is having such a good time on screen that they forget to entertain or amuse the audience. One of those films that you are expected to love, but in reality it just becomes a waste of your valuable time. I saw this in the cinema and the rest of the audience seemed as bored as I was.


HUAWEI MediaPad T1 10 Tablet
HUAWEI MediaPad T1 10 Tablet
Price: £149.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good allternative tablet, 19 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Yes, it’s not an iPad. But with the iPad you are paying for the name and the image (I do have an iPad pro to compare this with. So, for hundreds of pounds less, what do you get?
You get a pretty versatile and user friendly tablet. Battery life is very good and you can add a memory card if you need to. Graphics are fast and fun and ideal for media applications and the likes of Facebook. On a personal basis I like using the kindle app to read on this, but it is pretty robust in most things including a pretty good camera. I said user friendly, but there is a learning curve to get over, especially if you are accustomed to using Apple products. But when you get through all that, although this will never be as loved as an iPad, it is a much cheaper and functional tablet and good value if you want to not go with Apple.


A City Dreaming
A City Dreaming
by Daniel Polansky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Laid back urban fantasy, 19 July 2016
This review is from: A City Dreaming (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Have to confess I was underwhelmed by “Those Above” by this author, but I also enjoy urban fantasy so thought I would give this a go.
This is a bit of an odd one but also a lot of fun. We have a character “M” that kind of drifts around, his powers are considerable as, we assume, as magician but part of the charm here is that he tends not to use them too much. Mainly set in New York and mainly spread over a year, this is a series of almost standalone chapters with incidents that occur during that year. No central theme or “mission”, this is M mainly chilling out in the magical part of New York that normal people don’t see and occasionally being asked to do something or being dragged into doing something. This is told with wit and charm (although the overall theme is not one of humour) as we see M and (occasionally) his friends get involved with things that need doing or doing things because they are just bored.
It’s different but very easy reading and enjoyable. The lack of a central theme or major enemies may not be to everyone’s taste but the charm here is a view of everyday alternative existence.


Fool Me Once
Fool Me Once
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Weak entry from Mr Coben, 16 July 2016
This review is from: Fool Me Once (Paperback)
A typical Coben book, we are presented with an impossible situation (dead husband appears on NannyCam after his murder) and a lead character who investigates as thing unravel around her.

Trouble is, we kind of have come to expect this from the author, along with twists and a clever "reveal" at the end. Maybe it was the expectation but this didn't work for me and the reveal/twists were just too complicated. Nice to see an female ex-military lead character (suffering from PTSS as a result of her shooting some civilians) but she, like many others, is under-developed as characters and not helped by a too complex and un-believable plot.
So not as good as usual and just about "okay".


Nevernight
Nevernight
by Jay Kristoff
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Fantasy, 16 July 2016
This review is from: Nevernight (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is one of quite a few of late to either deal with brutal schools for assassins, and/or young female assassins.
The author does work in familiar territory but does more than enough to put a personal stamp on the book and his characters.
Mia arrives at the “Red Church” aged about 16, ready to develop skills that will give her revenge on those in authority that killed her father and imprisoned her mother and brother. Mia is also a “Darkin”, one who has a shadow as a companion and who can potentially control the shadows themselves. Her Darkin shadow can also drink in her fear, not a bad asset when training to be an assassin.
The Red Church is brutal and this is clearly an adult book, plenty of language and the occasional sex scene. There are plenty of interesting ideas, significant twists and a story that leads you to a satisfying ending that makes you want more. The story is told by a narrator who blends appropriate humour into his tale with footnotes giving you his wry perspective on characters.
I said that this was a familiar scenario, but I have to say I very much enjoyed the author’s take on it, the plot and the characters. Plenty of clever ideas and confident writing in this and I have no hesitation in recommending it. Very much looking forward to the next one in the series.


Bad Soldier: Danny Black Thriller 4
Bad Soldier: Danny Black Thriller 4
by Chris Ryan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

3.0 out of 5 stars over violent and under plotted, 9 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Part of the “Danny Black” series (no 4). Black is a serving SAS member known for talent and not quite following orders.
This book is probably the most violent of the Ryan books and plenty of strong language too. Readers may be made uncomfortable by some of the things done by Black’s SAS colleagues in this, the good guys are not to be admired here.
We start with an interception of a boat load of refugees, move to a mission in-country to snatch an ISIS commander and end back in the UK trying to stop a critical attack.
I was a little concerned with the levels and kinds of violence but also with an utterly unnecessary depiction of a member of the Royal Family. A plot device is needed to get a wayward SAS member as part of the Royal Protection team (a bit of a flaw, he is so far off the rails he would have been Returned To Unit) but it really felt unlikely as did most of the plot really.
I’ve not been a massive fan of the Danny Black stories, although I like the idea of a serving SAS member being the focus, the plotting shows weakness and repetition with not enough redeeming features. Main criticism would be that you find yourself going “nah, that wouldn’t happen” far too often.


Reckless
Reckless
by Chrissie Hynde
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars uncomfortable reading and a poor autobiography, 9 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Reckless (Hardcover)
Chrissie Hynde was born in 1951, she formed The Pretenders, she got married three times (including Ray Davies and Jim Kerr and had a daughter with each of them) she released her first solo album “Stockholm” in 2014, a year before this autobiography was released.
It is rare that I have ever been so disappointed by an autobiography, this is a part work and I can’t see a second part ever coming out. Although I think she was a cult figure and I love her music (including the excellent Stockholm) I like her less as a person having read this.
We get a lot of her early years, growing up in a decaying town, her genuine love of music and her introduction into a considerable amount of drugs. The drugs element is honest but horrifying, she really would do anything for her next fix. She eventually makes it to London and Paris, still on drugs but still close to the music scene, in London she somehow finds herself writing (badly) for NME. She does drift amongst many now famous names, including the Sex Pistols before eventually the Pretenders are formed. The Pretenders were a band that relaxed with drugs which ended up being the undoing of two founder members but they also worked hard and made some great music. Phase one of the Pretenders line-up ended about 1983 at the time she also had her first marriage to Ray Davies.
And then the book stops. Stops. A couple of pages along the lines of “I got myself clean by reading a book” but not touching on significant parts of her life since 1983.
So a poor autobiography and more than a little dis-jointed. Even the bits that should have been really interesting…weren’t interesting enough.


The Sandpit: An Action-Packed Spider Shepherd SAS Novella
The Sandpit: An Action-Packed Spider Shepherd SAS Novella
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early "Spider" in SAS action, 3 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
One of the many things I like about Stephen Leather and his main character, “Spider” Shepherd is that he uses the full range of Shepherd as a developing character. The current excellent thrillers have seen him evolve and change as a character, even his views are changing so you never just get a repeat of a formula. Shepherd and his friends and colleagues have all changed through the course of the books which really does mean that you know the book you pick up will be good, but you also know to expect proper plot and character development.
Anyway, back to The Sandpit and here the author gives us a young Shepherd still in the SAS, very much in intelligent warrior mode, along with his small team of SAS colleagues. They are sent into the dust and ferocity of Afghanistan, their purpose is to act as a training team for some of the locals who are battling the Taliban, but this ends up being no simple training mission when they discover something that could tip the balance of power in the area for ever.
This is a very enjoyable novella, longer than the previous Spider Shepherd SAS short stories (recommended obviously) which allows for more team interaction and a bit more of the famous SAS skills to be demonstrated. As usual the author tries to give balance to the situation and the characters with clear distinctions between different types of ideology and approach.
Great fun and a way to bridge the small gap until Dark Forces hits the shelves.


Salter Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Kitchen Scales
Salter Stainless Steel Electronic Digital Kitchen Scales
Price: £18.19

5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 3 July 2016
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Really nice digital scales these, they are about the size and depth of an iPad if that helps picture them. Battery powered and it does, I am delighted to report, actually come with batteries along with a substantial 15 year guarantee.
The digital display offers metric or imperial and you can switch between them without taking the item off. Key features are the “add and weigh” (you can keep adding to the bowl) and “aquatronic” so you can measure liquid volumes too.
Nice look and feel to these, they do feel like a top of the range product and have the functionality that you would want of such an item. Really pleased and impressed with this.


Hope and Red (Empire of Storms)
Hope and Red (Empire of Storms)
by Jon Skovron
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Fantasy Fun, 2 July 2016
I really enjoyed this, a page turning fantasy romp. Great fun from start to finish. The Hope and Red of the title are orphans who don’t actually meet until about half way through the book. Hope has been secretly trained as a Vinchen warrior and Red, in another part of the world, has become a smooth talking thief. Eventually they meet and find they have common enemies within the Empire that uses Biomages.
It’s very much an adult romp with plenty of swearing and sexual references and also throws in some local slang to add to the general feel. More than a few entertaining characters, some good dialogue and plenty of action. It’s not a ‘heavy’ fantasy, the author appears to be having a great time with the story and characters and it is hard not to get swept along.
Finished this in just over a day, that’s how much I enjoyed it.


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